Building the Right Workforce for the Summer Rush

Summer, a/k/a “prime time” for your restaurant, retail store, or hospitality venue, is upon us. While it’s critical to have enough employees to meet the rush, it’s quite another to have the right employees: those who provide exceptional customer service that can make or break your business. How important is it? According to a Walker study, customer experience is becoming the biggest brand differentiator for consumers – more than either price or product.

The good news is that it’s possible to predict which candidates will be most successful in delivering customer service that boosts the bottom line. It starts with determining the job competencies that are most indicative of strong customer focus, and then using assessments to generate data on how candidates match up against those traits.

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Through three decades of research and experience, OutMatch has uncovered the four key traits that determine a person’s customer focus competency:

  • Insight. Showing interest in what customers want and understanding others’ motivations is an important attribute for employees in any consumer-facing company. When employees fall on the low end of this scale, they tend to overlook people issues when making decisions. The high end of insight includes employees who are more attuned to interpersonal issues and place a higher emphasis on giving customers the best experience possible.
  • Positive About People. Having a positive outlook toward people makes interactions with them much easier. If a person is skeptical of people and generally untrusting of others, they likely fall on the low end of this scale, and may find it uncomfortable to have to be positive, making their interactions feel more forced. On the high end of the spectrum, employees generally concentrate on positive attributes of people, and providing customer service comes more naturally because they want to help.
  • Assertiveness. Employees should make their presence known to reassure customers that if they need help, they know where to find it. When employees score low in assertiveness, it means they’re likely more reserved, and perhaps will have less confidence in dealing with customers. People who score high in assertiveness make their customers feel welcome and taken care of, and may even be able to influence customers to buy more of a product or service.
  • Work Pace. Industries that cater to customers all have hours during the day where there are so many people who need to be helped. Employees who prefer a slower working environment fall on the low end of this scale, and can become flustered at busy times, which leads to aggravation, mistakes, and inefficiency. Employees who are the most effective during hectic hours fall on the high side. These people may even prefer a fast-paced work environment, and they are able to make each customer feel especially taken care of.

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Employees of any customer-facing industry must present themselves as welcoming and helpful, no matter the circumstances. Customers who’ve been provided great service are likely to not only come back, but also to encourage other people to become customers. The good news is you can use assessments to put the right team in place, replacing gut feelings with data that adds measurement, insight, and impact to your hiring process, and boosts your bottom line.

Greg Moran
President and CEO

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